Alpine Meadows resident Jason Abraham receives Empowerment Grant from High Fives Foundation towards recovery from life-altering injury suffered at Squaw Valley

$8,591 grant provided Abraham with med jet from Renown Hospital to Craig Hospital and therapeutic sessions of acupuncture and and massage

#HighFivesAthlete Jason Abraham & family at Craig Hospital

The High Fives Foundation is awarding 35-year-old Jason Abraham an Empowerment Grant to help aid in his recovery from a life-altering injury he sustained while skiing in the Palisades at Squaw Valley in April this year. The injury happened when Abraham fell while skiing in Main Chute. The impact broke his neck and resulted in a subluxation of his C5/C6 vertebrae, causing temporary paralysis from the shoulders down. An initial surgery at Renown Hospital in Reno, Nev. was completed to stabilize his spine. Abraham is currently undergoing intensive rehab at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo.

#HighFivesAthlete Jason Abraham & #HighFivesAthlete Jim Harris

Abraham has been a friend of the High Fives Foundation since the beginning of the organization. He is a professional photographer in the Tahoe area and has photographed High Fives Athletes in the past. At first news of his injury, the High Fives Foundation was at Abraham’s side, consulting his family every step of the way. When Abraham was cleared to begin physical therapy, the High Fives Foundation Board of Directors approved a grant to fly him in a med jet from Reno to the world renown spinal center at Craig Hospital. The grant also provided Abraham with 12 sessions of acupuncture and 12 sessions of massage to provide therapeutic stimulation and blood flow to areas affected by his injury.

#HighFivesAthlete Barclay Talbot, Jim Harris & Jason Abraham at Craig Hospital
Abraham’s recovery goals are to return to enjoying Tahoe with his wife Kate and his 3-year-old son Ebbett.
Jason Abraham & Family in Tahoe

Reno resident Bill Winchester receives Empowerment Grant from High Fives Foundation towards recovery from life-altering injury

$6,786 Empowerment Grant to provide Winchester with rehabilitative sessions of massage, acupuncture, personal training, and adaptive equipment

Bill Winchester & son

The High Fives Foundation is awarding 38-year-old Bill Winchester a board-approved Empowerment Grant to help aid in his recovery from a life-altering injury he sustained while road biking near the Mount Rose Highway in Nevada. While descending the downhill grade, Winchester’s bike struck an illegally parked landscape trailer. The impact resulted in burst fractures at the T4/T5 vertebrae with a slight offset/dislocation at C6/C7, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down with use of his arms and hands.

#HighFivesAthlete Bill Winchester

The April Empowerment Grant will provide Winchester with massage therapy, acupuncture, and personal training at the CR Johnson Healing Centerin Truckee, Calif. It will also provide him with modifications to his wheelchair including a seat cushion and hand rims. His house and car are being upgraded with adaptive modifications that will allow him to live independently.

#HighFivesAthlete Bill Winchester & wife

Winchester’s recovery goals include making his day-to-day life easier to lessen the burden for his incredibly supportive wife. Eventually, he would like to become a motivational speaker to improve the lives of others who have suffered spinal cord injuries.

Since the High Fives Foundation’s January 2009 inception, the Empowerment program service has assisted 79 athletes from 20 states in nine respective funding categories which include: living expenses, insurance, travel, health, healing network, adaptive equipment, winter equipment, programs and “stoke” (positive energy, outlook and attitude). In 2015, the High Fives Foundation set a budget of disbursing $266,000 via board-approved grants through the Empowerment Fund. Since January 2015, 18 High Fives Athletes and two organizations have been awarded 22 board-approved grants totaling  $146,793.

In the month of April the High Fives Foundation disbursed $58,361 in board-approved grants — the most in grant funding in a single month in it’s history.

April Empowerment Athletes:
Jim Harris from Salt Lake City, Utah.
Barclay Talbot from Cazenovia, NY.
Jason Abraham from Tahoe City, Calif.
Lindsay Runkel from Westport, Conn.
Bill Winchester from Reno, Nev.
Megan Wemmer of Boulder, Colo.


  1. Wishing all the best to Jason and Bill! The support by High Fives Foundation will do so much to help these athletes and their families reach the immediate and long term goals they have. I’ve had the honor of meeting Jason and his family at Craig Hospital. In the few weeks he’s been at Craig you can easily see the positive changes. I wish you both all the best!

Leave a Comment